She opened a con­tem­po­rary art gallery at a York­shire stately home and has staged ex­hi­bi­tions in an empty Leeds apart­ment block. Now Diane Howse tells Richard Jevons why she is tak­ing on two more land­mark venues.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

T’S more than a quar­ter of a cen­tury since Diane Howse opened her first gallery at Hare­wood House. Back then, most coun­try piles were still rather fusty af­fairs with the public tol­er­ated for the en­trance fees they brought rather than wel­comed with opened arms. Diane saw it dif­fer­ently.

Hav­ing mar­ried David Las­celles, who be­came Lord Hare­wood in 2011 fol­low­ing the death of his fa­ther, the cou­ple have worked hard to open up the his­toric es­tate near Leeds and with a life­long pas­sion for art, Diane saw it as the per­fect back­drop for show­cas­ing con­tem­po­rary work.

Since then, she has staged and cu­rated hun­dreds of ex­hi­bi­tions in un­usual lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a dis­used York­shire apart­ment block and is now tak­ing work to two of the county’s most iconic venues – Salts Mill in Sal­taire and the Brontë Par­son­age Mu­seum in Ha­worth.

“I think we some­times for­get how beau­ti­ful Brontë coun­try is,” says Diane on a warm sum­mer’s day, look­ing across from Peni­s­tone Hill. “The world may be very dif­fer­ent to­day from the time of the Bron­tës, but that beauty and the power they felt on the moors is still very much here.”

That was part of the rea­son why she wanted to stage an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Brontë Par­son­age Mu­seum. Bring­ing to­gether a group of fel­low cre­ative spir­its, the Silent Wild ex­plores the sonic land­scape con­jured by the words of the Brontë sis­ters.

“We don’t tend to think of lan­guage as some­thing vis­ual but in fact we look at words as much as we hear or speak them,” says Diane – she rarely uses her ti­tle as the Countess of Hare­wood. “How­ever, when we look at text on a page or screen, while we might read silently the words on the page have an ex­tra­or­di­nary power to con­jure a whole world of sound, noise and com­mo­tion.”

The main fo­cus of the pro­ject is a new 11-minute film that plays on an iPad in the din­ing room of the par­son­age. For the film, an ex­act replica of the din­ing room’s floor plan was re­con­structed in the roof space


ART OF NOISE: Main pic­ture, Countess of Hare­wood Diane Howse at Hare­wood House; above, Silent Wild is a new art ex­hi­bi­tion at the Brontë Par­son­age Mu­seum.

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